Sask.-developed app tracks personal mental health, offers reflection opportunities

·2 min read

A software engineer from Regina has been able to combine her passions for bullet journaling and art to develop an app that she's using to track her mood through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rochana Sawatzky says she first tried bullet journaling — a bullet journal contains sections to log daily to-dos, keep a monthly or weekly calendar, jot down notes, track both physiological and mental health, plus record both short- and long-term goals — to cope with her worries about the pandemic, but says she couldn't see herself putting in the daily work if it was just for herself.

So she developed Beautiful Mood, an app that sends users a notification to rate their mood on a scale from "terrible," to "amazing."

"In one way I think it's just kind of cathartic — like at the end of the day, to come in and say, 'Oh, this is how my day was,' and just to have a place that's judgment free, where you can express yourself," Sawatzky told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"But also, there's reporting within the app that can help you know what's contributing to good and bad days, so you can have a better idea of what's affecting your mood."

Sawatzky says she had never applied her love of art professionally, but in developing the app she was able to design the graphics users see after they enter their mood for the day.

Each month features a new theme designed by Sawatzky to give users something to look forward to.

While she's not a very social person, she says, her best days have been those when she was able to go outside and see her friends.

With the winter months and COVID-19 upon Saskatchewan, Sawatzky says while it's a bit tougher to socialize right now, she's making a conscious effort to get out.

On the bad days in particular, she says, the app has been quite handy. Being able to reflect on previous bad days and literally see the good days that followed is a particularly helpful aspect of the app.

It's a personal example of how noticing trends, she says, can lead to behavioural changes.

"Just being able to see a clear thing that says, 'Hey, this makes me happy,' [has] definitely influenced how I try and live my life," Sawatzky said.